Published on September 16th, 2013 | by Staples Soccer0
Staples vs. Harding — Game Report
Harding joined the FCIAC in 1992. Their 1st game against Staples was a 13-0 loss. Except for a 4-1 win in 1997 and a 1-1 draw 2 years later, the Presidents have never really threatened the Wreckers.
But they opened last week with a 1-0 win against Westhill. They’ve got an excellent attacker in Arturo Rocha; a smart sweeper in Ocasio Brown, and a never-say-die attitude that could take them far.
Playing at Hedges Stadium — a narrow football field with high grass — is never easy. But — like the Harding program — it too is in better shape this year than in the past.
Staples took the field without Jack Scott. The co-captain suffered a concussion against New Canaan. Michael Reid went on at midfield, with Diego Alanis pushing up.
It was a different game than usual, from the start. The Presidents played with conviction, and though Staples had the territorial advantage, the Wreckers could not connect. Charlie Leonard slotted a ball across, but no one was there. Connor Weiler hit a shot high. Joe Pravder nearly scored. Nate Argosh shot high.
But the hosts drew first blood, in the 29th minute. Rocha finished a counter with a clinical strike into the far corner. It was the 1st goal Staples surrendered all year.
The blue-and-whites went back to work. Patrick Beusse shot; George Kokkalis followed, and they earned a corner. Steve Sobel’s throws created some pressure — and, less than a minute before halftime, the long throw worked. Michael Reid was in the right spot, heading down and in perfectly.
Two minutes after intermission, Staples scored again. This was a penalty kick by Yousef Shahin, after Beusse drove into the box and was fouled.
Puchala nearly connected off another Sobel throw, but the Presidents kept pressing too. Schwaeber made a great save in heavy traffic in the 55th minute.
Five minutes later, the Wrecker defense over-committed on a high, bouncing ball. David Marroquin waited patiently, and finished easily for the equalizer.
Harding had a chance to go ahead in the 63rd minute, but the shot flew just high. Reid and Leonard nearly tallied for Staples; then Alanis hit one over the crossbar. There were several Staples opportunities in the 71st minute, as the Wreckers went for the win.
But with 2 minutes to play, the Bridgeporters caught Staples on a long counter. Once again it was Rocha with the ball; once again he finished cleanly.
Harding celebrated as if they’d won the World Cup — or at least FCIACs. After 21 years of near-futility, they certainly had the right to. FINAL SCORE: Harding 3, Staples 2. Season record: 2-1-0.
QUICK KICKS: Staples outshot Harding 16-6. The Wreckers led in corner kicks too, 3-1….
Game photos will be posted later tonight or early tomorrow.